Mar 29, 2011

Outdoor Nutrition: Trail Food

trail mix – from Wikipedia

Aside from the normal meals (brekkie, lunch, dinner) that mountain climbers eat to get the energy they need, there’s also that space of time in between meals where they need to nourish themselves.

Excess of such nourishment or the deficiency thereof, can make or break a climb. Each climber has a specific body type which requires a different sustenance from another. It’s important that the climber knows his own food needs. There are climbers who choose to sustain themselves on the trail foods alone, without the aid of regular meals… hence it is important that these climbers choose the right trail foods.

Trail food in the mountain climbing parlance, is something a hiker eats in between meals to replenish the energy during a climb.

The traditional trail food is summarized by the acronym GORP (Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts). “Raisins” is a representation of the dried fruit mix, while “peanuts” part signifies the nuts family.

In the Philippine setting, the jellyace is the favorite among hikers. Jellyaces are sweet, wobbly gelatin in small cups… this is preferred since it doubles as food and hydration because of the water content of the jellies. The most popular ones are the jellies with nata de coco inside….it can make you feel fuller during those times when you are trekking on hours close to meal time.

During my neophyte years in the climbing scene… I never fail to bring one of these even though I am not too fond of it. I never found its use other than for sharing to other, besides that it’s heavy on the load. But when one faces a situation where you’re to the last drop of your trail water….one just regrets not bringing some of those life saving treats.

trail mix @ True Value

Dehydrated fruits may not satisfy you as much as a meal does, but it can give you that boost of extra energy whenever you need one. Most of the dried fruit mixes are not in want of pineapple, banana chips, mangos, prunes, raisins and other pre-packed dried fruits in a fruit trail mix. Dried fruits supply you with the needed carbohydrates to (state reason why)

Not a fan of fruits on trail, I can count the times that I brought these as snacks in the great outdoors. Once was when I am doing the Akiki-Ambangeg route for Mt. Pulag and as a newbie I was too overwhelmed to think of better trail snacks other than the traditional, by-the-books mix that I have read about. Another was when I did the Mt. Hibok-hibok dayhike where I got abundance of dried mangoes and banana chips. That’s it. Otherwise, I just unconsciously stashed a pack in my bag, not intending to bring dried fruits but something that will just pass as trail food.

trail mix @ True Value

see… nuts can make you clever!

Internet said that nuts and peanuts give you the sustained energy from the mono- and polyunsaturated fats. I don’t know what the hell these do to you, but I always keep the good faith and trust the experts. Joke. Of course you need these are know as good fats which we need to burn calories to have energy. Included in this group are almonds, cashew, peanuts, walnut, sunflower seeds, macadamia. Ok I just enumerated the yummy nuts but it’s always up to you, nuts are always nuts. Just consume in moderation because I have heard somewhere that cashew are high in uric acid which can help weaken our joints especially our knees.

I am not a fancy climber and it would be rare to see me with fancy nuts on my pack. I just stash a bag of re-sealable SUGO nuts and I am good to go.

Mt. Sto Tomas -poooffft! =D

Whenever I am on a major major climb, I make sure that my trail foods are well selected. And I include cereals almost always. A pack or two, together with a small carton of milk can also double as a yummy breakfast or just an indulgent midnight snack. My weapon of choice is Coco Crunch Chocolate flavor in small pack.

Climbers need sugar to have energy on a hike. When we drink water, the sugar in our body is being saturated below the normal level. To keep up with the requirements, we need to eat sweets too.

Most popular sweets that can give you that instant sugar rush is M&Ms. As a bonus, they have a variety with peanuts/almonds/malt inside.

Now if you try to mix all of these stuff, there’s what we call the trail mix. In the succeeding post I will try to make a DIY trail mix using local, easy to find ingredients.

The list doesn’t stop there. People bring their comfort foods on the trail, to make them feel that they’re not far from home. Some people can make do with just the trail mix, some people eat heavier stuff as trail snack. Some of the trail foods that I bring with me are:

  • Chips Delight cookies

  • Lays Chips

  • Doritos

  • Cheetos

  • Hello Panda

  • Tiger energy biscuit

Nowadays I have a wide variety of choices depending on my mood. The abovementioned are just my basic staples of which I modify to suit my taste. Sometimes when in a hurry during the final purchase of needs I just grab hold of anything edible, and sometimes it leads me to a treat. What’s important is that a hiker should be confident that his trail food will get him by through the hike if ever he got lost or separated from the group.

PS: I know include Marty’s Chicharon or Oishi Tenta as part of my staple because sometimes it doubles as ulam. With hot kanin, my meal is good to go.


  1. Awesome post gurl! I love JellyAce. Lagi rin kami meron nyan pag akyat... I also bring bananas :)

  2. thanks, very helpful to


  3. @ gay, thanks. jellyace talaga ang basic sa pagakyat, i dunno why hindi ko nakahiligan. one variation are jelly sticks.

    @ archie - thanks.